Gaza Strip – In the middle of surgery, the operating theatre went pitch black for a few minutes. Only two tiny monitors showing the patient’s vital signs were visible. When the light came back on, powered by a generator, the medics continued their work.
Almost 2,000 people were wounded and required urgent medical attention as violence escalated in the border area of Gaza in the last several weeks.
Doctors and nurses said the current crisis had awakened the trauma of 2014 war in them, several expressing their frustration over not being able to do more for their patients.
Weakened by a shortage of drugs and medical supplies, severe restrictions on movement, a chronic energy crisis and a worsening economic situation, Gaza’s health sector is struggling to cope with the influx of wounded.
Hospital staff face dilemmas of prioritisation. “Every day I have to make a decision; to discharge a patient or keep them in. Many of them live in poverty, and I know that if I discharge them, they will not get the care they need at home,” says Dr Ahmad, a surgeon at Gaza Indonesian Hospital.
“If I keep them here, we may not have enough hospital beds,” Ahmad added.
Hospital personnel know what it means to struggle economically, as some cannot even afford the cost of transportation to come to work.
Still, every on Friday, the busiest day of the week, they are there; ready, calm and in control. They quickly assess each patient, comfort emotional relatives, and keep going, against all odds.